Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/07/2020
Format: 07/07/2020
State of Tennessee v Jorge Pena
M2018-02082-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant-Appellant, Jorge Pena, was convicted of three counts of rape of a child and three counts of aggravated sexual battery, for which he received an effective sentence of forty years imprisonment. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the trial court erred in qualifying a local police officer as an expert in Spanish language translation and admitting his translation of pretextual phone calls between the Defendant and the victim’s mother at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Rutherford County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
Jamie Faucon v. Michael Mgridichian
E2019-01343-COA-R3-CV

This case involves a violation of an ex parte order of protection. The order required the respondent to refrain from contacting the petitioner in any way, including electronic communication. The trial court found the respondent in criminal contempt for violating the order by contacting Petitioner over “amateur radio” on three separate occasions. Respondent appealed, asserting the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the case and that he did not receive sufficient notice of the criminal contempt charges. We affirm the trial court and remand.

Knox County Court of Appeals 06/11/20
State of Tennessee v. Kimberly Miller
M2018-00869-CCA-R3-CD

The Appellant, Kimberly Miller, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and first degree felony murder. The convictions were merged, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, she challenges the sufficiency of the evidence underlying her convictions. Specifically, the Appellant contends that the evidence “does not show that it was [the Appellant’s] conscious desire to kill the victim in this case, nor that she acted in concert with the shooter, or that she was an active participant in the shooting.” Therefore, she could not be found criminally responsible for the first degree premeditated murder of the victim. The Appellant also contends that “the evidence unquestionably established that [the Appellant] did not share the intent of [the victim’s] assailants nor did she actively participate in any facet of the armed robbery and subsequent shooting”; therefore, she cannot be held criminally responsible for the felony murder of the victim. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Maury County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
Eric L. Parker v. State of Tennessee
E2019-00893-CCA-R3-PC

A jury convicted the Petitioner, Eric L. Parker, of aggravated domestic assault by reckless conduct, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender, to four years of incarceration. This court affirmed the Petitioner’s conviction and sentence. State v. Eric L. Parker, No. E2013-02339-CCA-R3-PC, 2014 WL 5483015, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Oct. 29, 2014), no perm. app. filed. The Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which the post-conviction court dismissed after a hearing. After review, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/11/20
Barbara Ann Shelton et al. v. Mary F. Eden
M2019-01295-COA-R3-CV

The maker of three promissory notes claims that the third promissory note was intended to consolidate and discharge the earlier notes. When the holders of the two earlier notes filed suit to collect, the maker raised discharge as a defense. The trial court granted the maker summary judgment. Because the maker failed to meet her burden to show that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, we reverse.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/10/20
Arturo Cardenas, Jr. v. State of Tennessee
M2019-00899-CCA-R3-HC

Pro se petitioner, Arturo Cardenas, Jr., appeals the summary dismissal of his “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and/or Post Conviction Relief.” Upon our review, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
State of Tennessee v. Tony Levon Johnson, Jr.
W2019-00738-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Tony Levon Johnson, Jr., was convicted by a Madison County jury of burglary of a vehicle, a Class E felony, and theft of property under $1,000, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him to an effective term of two years, with 240 days of “shock incarceration” in the Madison County Jail before release to Community Corrections. On appeal, the Defendant argues, and the State agrees, that the trial court erred in ordering a sentence of continuous confinement before release to Community Corrections. Because the Defendant’s sentence of continuous confinement is prohibited by Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-122, we reverse the sentence of incarceration, modify the sentence to Community Corrections, and remand to the trial court for entry of judgments in accordance with this opinion.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
State of Tennessee v. Octavious Wright
W2019-00559-CCA-R3-CD

The Shelby County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant-Appellant, Octavious Wright, for the rape of A.B., a person more than three years of age but less than thirteen years of age (Count 1); the aggravated sexual battery of A.B., a person less than thirteen years old (Count 2); the rape of A.G., a person more than three years of age but less than thirteen years of age (Count 3); and the aggravated sexual battery of A.G., a person less than thirteen years of age (Count 4). Prior to trial, the charges pertaining to the two victims, A.B. and A.G., were severed, and the trial proceeded as to Counts 1 and 2. After the proof was presented at trial, the trial court instructed the jury that the offense of aggravated sexual battery charged in Count 2 was a lesser included offense of rape of a child charged in Count 1, and a nolle prosequi was entered as to Count 2. At the conclusion of trial, the jury convicted Wright as charged in Count 1, and the trial court subsequently imposed a thirty-five-year sentence. On appeal, Wright argues: (1) the trial court erred in excluding from evidence a Tennessee Child Protective Services investigative report on the grounds that the report was inadmissible hearsay, not relevant, and speculative; and (2) the exclusion of this investigative report violated his due process right to present a defense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/10/20
State of Tennessee v. Timothy Cole Moose
E2019-00648-CCA-R3-CD

Defendant, Timothy Cole Moose, was charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in an indictment returned by the Monroe County Grand Jury. Following a jury trial, he was found guilty of the lesser included offense of attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The trial court sentenced defendant to a sixyear sentence as a career offender. In this appeal, Defendant’s sole issue is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the convictions. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Monroe County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Joseph Brennan
E2019-01186-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Joseph Brennan, appeals as of right from the Sevier County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation and reinstatement of the remainder of his six-year sentence for aggravated assault. Although the Defendant acknowledges that he violated the terms of his probationary sentence, he submits that the trial court abused its discretion by requiring him to serve the balance of his sentence in custody given his expressed desire for drug treatment and need for rehabilitation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Odell Glass
E2019-00965-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Odell Glass, appeals his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, felony murder, and reckless homicide, challenging the admission of testimony from the medical examiner regarding muzzle distance, the admission of surveillance video, and the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
Jeffrey Scott Widby v. The City of East Ridge, TN, Et Al.
E2019-01282-COA-R3-CV

Pro se appellant appeals the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(6). We affirm the trial court.

Hamilton County Court of Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Kimberly Ann Lennon
W2019-01008-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Kimberly Ann Lennon, was convicted by a Henderson County Circuit Court Jury of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 55-10-401 (2017). The trial court sentenced her to eleven months and twenty-nine days at 75% service, to be served on probation, supervised by the community corrections program, after two days’ jail service. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court, and we remand the case for correction of a clerical error on the judgment form.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
Marvin T. Dickerson v. State of Tennessee
W2019-00840-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Marvin T. Dickerson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel in various matters related to his sentencing. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Terry Bradford Whitaker
W2019-00583-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, Terry Bradford Whitaker, was convicted by a Hardin County Circuit Court jury of premeditated first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress DNA evidence and that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Hardin County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/09/20
State of Tennessee v. Melvin Terry
E2019-01780-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Melvin Terry, appeals the order of the trial court revoking his probation and ordering him to serve his original ten-year sentence in confinement. Upon review of the record, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding the defendant violated the terms of his probation, and the imposed sentence is proper. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. William Grant Morgan, Alias
E2018-02245-CCA-R3-CD

A Knox County jury convicted the Defendant, William Grant Morgan, alias, of first degree premeditated murder and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received concurrent terms of life imprisonment and eleven months and twenty-nine days, respectively. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the Defendant’s murder conviction, specifically, challenging the element of premeditation; (2) whether the trial court failed to ensure that the Defendant voluntarily and knowingly waived certain defenses against the advice of his attorneys; (3) whether the trial court erred in admitting an autopsy photograph depicting the multiple cuts to the victim’s throat; and (4) whether the trial court committed plain error by admitting evidence that the Defendant invoked his right to remain silent. After our review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Knox County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
State of Tennessee v. David Byron Alexander, Jr.
W2019-00839-CCA-R3-CD

The Defendant, David Byron Alexander, Jr., was convicted by a Henderson County Circuit Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; two counts of vandalism valued at $1000 or less, a Class A misdemeanor; aggravated criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor; and domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102 (2018) (aggravated assault); 39-14-408 (2018) (vandalism); 39-14-105 (2018) (grading); 39-14-406 (2018) (aggravated criminal trespass); 39-13-111 (2018) (domestic assault). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction and to six years for aggravated assault. The court ordered concurrent service of the misdemeanor sentences and consecutive service with the six-year sentence, for an effective sentence of six years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days. The court, likewise, ordered the Defendant to serve his effective sentence consecutively to a six-year sentence imposed in an unrelated drug case. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and (2) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Henderson County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
Brandon D. Theus v. State of Tennessee
W2019-01120-CCA-R3-PC

The Petitioner, Brandon D. Theus, appeals the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2016 conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Madison County Court of Criminal Appeals 06/05/20
Faye Rennell Hobson v. Joshua A. Frank, et al.
M2019-01556-COA-R3-CV

This appeal involves a legal malpractice suit. Previously, the defendants represented the plaintiff in a federal failure to hire case. In the federal case, the jury rendered a defense verdict. Thereafter, the plaintiff sued her attorneys, alleging legal malpractice. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing they exercised the required standard of care in representing the plaintiff. In support of their motion, the defendants submitted their own affidavits and an affidavit of a third-party attorney who was retained as a testifying expert. In response, the plaintiff did not provide expert proof on whether the defendants met the appropriate standard of care. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. The plaintiff appealed. We affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and remand.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 06/04/20
IN RE MICHAEL B., ET AL.
M2019-01486-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights cases. The trial court terminated Appellant mother’s parental rights on the grounds of: (1) abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home; (2) abandonment by an incarcerated parent by wanton disregard; (3) failure to substantially comply with the requirements of the permanency plans; (4) persistence of the conditions that led to removal of the children; (5) severe child abuse; and (6) failure to manifest an ability and willingness to assume custody. The trial court also found that termination of her parental rights was in the children’s best interests. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

Cheatham County Court of Appeals 06/04/20
IN RE: KAMBRI P. ET AL.
M2019-01352-COA-R3-PT

This is a termination of parental rights case. Appellants, mother and father, appeal the trial court’s termination of their respective parental rights to the two minor children. The court terminated mother’s parental rights on the grounds of: (1) abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home; (2) failure to substantially comply with the requirements of the parenting plans; and (3) persistence of the conditions that led to the children’s removal. The trial court terminated father’s parental rights on the grounds of: (1) abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home; (2) abandonment by an incarcerated parent by wanton disregard; (2) persistence of the conditions that led to the children’s removal; and (3) severe child abuse. The trial court also found that termination of appellants’ parental rights was in the children’s best interest. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Dickson County Court of Appeals 06/04/20
In Re Rahjada W. Et Al.
E2019-01798-COA-R3-PT

This appeal involves a petition to terminate parental rights to three children. The trial court found there was clear and convincing evidence to terminate on multiple grounds and that termination is in the best interest of the children. Only the mother appealed. We affirm the trial court’s decision to terminate the mother’s parental rights and remand.

Blount County Court of Appeals 06/03/20
Troy Michael Wheeler v. Angela Marie (Turner) Wheeler
M2019-01016-COA-R3-CV

Husband appeals the denial of his motion for relief under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02. Husband argues that a divorce decree and marital dissolution agreement should be set aside for his lack of capacity to understand the agreement and advocate for himself. Separately, he claims the agreement itself is unconscionable. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.

Macon County Court of Appeals 06/03/20
Matthew D. Varney v. Katherine Mechelle Stooksbury
E2018-01812-COA-R3-JV

This is a post-custody contempt case. We do not reach the substantive issues because the order appealed is not final. As such, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the appeal, and the appeal is dismissed. Tenn. R. App. P. 3.

Knox County Court of Appeals 06/03/20